New York’s marine waters provide important habitat to many shark species! Commercial and recreational fishing for sharks have been practiced for hundreds of years and has influenced many of New York’s coastal and fishing communities. Before shark fishing, you must apply for the NYS Recreational Marine Fishing Registry and a NMFS Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Permit.
Sharks with an interdorsal ridge (which is a visible line of raised skin between the two dorsal fins) are known as ridgeback sharks. Anglers are prohibited from targeting and possessing all ridgeback sharks (except the tiger, oceanic whitetip and smoothhound). Dusky and sandbar (brown) sharks are commonly found ridgebacks that are prohibited from taking.
If you catch a prohibited shark, please remember the following best practices:
- Minimize your fight time and release time. Exhaustion can cause the shark to die. Do not delay release to take pictures.
- Always keep the shark in the water. If fishing from shore, do not drag a shark beyond the surf zone. If fishing from a boat, keep the shark in the water alongside your boat facing into the current.
- If the shark is hooked in the jaw, use a long-handled de-hooking device to help with hook removal or bolt cutters to cut the hook.
- If it is not possible to remove the hook, cut the leader as close to the hook as safely as the situation allows. Long lengths of leader left with the shark decrease its chance of survival after it is released.
- Remember, “If you don’t know, let it go!”
Tagging sharks does not exempt you from regulations and enforcement actions.